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Your Budgie's Health Learn about avian health and vet care. This forum does not substitute for veterinary expertise.
Thread Description:sick or just tired?

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Old 07-26-2019, 01:54 AM
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Unhappy budgie itchy for 24 hours and slight tail bob

I've recently received 2 re-homed budgies from a colleague that has moved away, and have had them for under two weeks. They are untamed, and i'm not even sure how old they are (Any educated guesses on their ages are appreciated).

They have been lovely so far but today I noticed that the blue budgie seemed to scratch his (I think it's a boy from the blue cere? I'm not very sure on many things since this is my first time taking care of birds) neck with his nails every few seconds. At first I thought he was just doing the usual preening, but it continued for many hours. It's the end of the day now and he's still scratching his neck with occasional preening every minute or two.

I began to worry so i looked online for sick budgie symptoms and came across tail bobbing, and noticed his slight tail bob. Many videos and forum posts online show that this little bob should be okay, but i'm worried that the combination of that and the scratching might be mites?

Video of "tail bobbing"

He had been in his cage since his arrival until yesterday, when he got out for an entire day, refusing to return inside until coaxed with treats the following morning. Could it be possible he caught mites somehow on top of the curtains/lights? I've had no past incidents with any sort of infestation whatsoever. Some of their perches are from my apple tree outside, and although they once carried aphids and ants, they were left to sundry for multiple years after they were removed in 2016-2017. I'm not sure if they pose any threat to the birds, but i'm open to any suggestions since i'm a bird newcomer.

I also thought maybe he is molting, hence the scratching, but I don't see any feathers coming off.

I've had a mixed pellet diet for him and plenty of treats the first few nights, but I cut down on the treat and only given them 1-2 occasional balls of spray millet the past 3 days in an attempt to begin taming them. I've also began blending carrots into their morning meals, along with the pellets.

Am I being overly worried about him or should i take him to a vet? I'm worried that he'll be very stressed out being moved to a strange location again so soon after coming here. I'm more worried about the scratching than the tail bobbing, but I didn't manage to get that on film.

Sorry for the long read, i'm new to budgies so any suggestions would be appreciated!!!

TL;DR: New-to-me budgie has been scratching neck every minute for the entire day, and showing "slight tail bob", not sure if sick or just overly worried.


Last edited by vajamas; 07-26-2019 at 02:25 AM. Reason: adding more details
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  #2  
Old 07-26-2019, 09:00 AM
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A slight tail bob is ok and the in the video you posted the tail bob does not look extreme, is the video the birds you have? Sometimes they are itchy when the pinfeathers begin to break through and unless you look very closely you would not see them. Excessive preening could indicate mites or some type of skin issue but it could also be due to stress and since the birds have just been moved into a new place that is very stressful. Let them get used to their new home before you start to train them. As for the diet do not mix veggies in with the pellets. feed them separately as when you mix them in the moisture from the veggies can make a mush out of the pellets and would then be a breeding ground for bacteria. It is best to feed them whatever they have been used to eating and gradually change the diet to a well rounded one if they were not already eating a good diet.
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Old 07-26-2019, 12:55 PM
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Okay, thank you! Yes that video is of the two birds. They haven't previously been preening and scratching this much so I was just a little worried about them. I tried giving them veggies and fruits separately but they don't seem too fond of it and just leave it on the side. When I do mix in the veggies though i make sure to change the food within an hour or two so bacteria doesn't build up.

It's day two now and he's still preening and scratching a lot, although not nearly as much, maybe only once or twice per minute. At what point should i really be concerned?

Last edited by vajamas; 07-26-2019 at 02:10 PM.
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Old 07-26-2019, 02:05 PM
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Are you able to get full frontal pictures of both birds taken in natural light, it would be helpful to see closer detail. Also in the video the cere of the blue bird looks quite pale, if it is actually that way in person you may have a female. Once a budgie is fully mature it is impossible to know the age, if the iris rings in the eyes are fully apparent then all you can say is that the birds are adults, if the iris rings are not fully apparent then the birds are most likely under a year old.
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Old 07-26-2019, 02:29 PM
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Here are the two of them, sorry for the quality my phone is a little old.

I tried feeding them some corn on the cob just now, just a little section of it, but they didn't even try nibbling on it. I'm a little worried about their diet since many people suggest that an only-pellet diet is no good for them.
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Old 07-26-2019, 02:55 PM
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Hi! to Talk Budgies

Both of your budgies are female.
Try offering them a shallow dish of water to see if they want to bathe.

Some budgies enjoy bathing and others don't.
There are various things you can try. You may also find they ignore the bath for a long time and then suddenly one will decide to try it and then they'll all like it!

I'd suggest you either put a shallow bowl with water in or on top the cage or get a Lix-it Bath to attach to the cage and provide them the option of bathing every few days.



You can also try placing a few fresh basil leaves or some lettuce leaves in the water. That may interest them in the bath.

Some budgies love to rub against or roll on wet leaves.
You can hang wet romaine lettuce or kale leaves in the cage or place them in a shallow dish in or on the cage to see if your budgies like them.

Some budgies enjoy being very lightly misted with room temperature water.
Do NOT squirt the water directly on the budgie.
Aim it up into the air and let the water mist settle down over the budgie gently.
You should be able to easily tell if he likes it or doesn't want any part of it.
Some budgies do enjoy playing under a light trickle of water in the sink.
Other budgies simply don't enjoy bathing which is fine as all budgies are cleaning and oiling their feathers when they preen.

If your budgie is shaking his head, tail and feet after he’s been in the water, that’s quite normal. It’s like a dog shaking after it gets wet.

I'd suggest you take both to an Avian Vet (or an Exotic Pet Veterinarian if there are no Avian Vets in your area) for a well-birdie check-up since these budgies are new to you.

Avian Vets have special training to determine the cause of symptoms resulting from illness or trauma.
This is important as "regular" vets will often overlook symptoms that are quickly obvious to an Avian Vet.
When you rely on anyone who has not had training in Avian diagnosis and care, you may be delaying effective treatment.
This can prolong suffering that may be avoidable.
The bird will often require a more intense, prolonged treatment with a poorer chance of full recovery than it would have if you seek prompt professional diagnosis and treatment at the first sign of illness.

If there are no Avian Vets near you, please find an Exotic Pet Veterinarian with experience in dealing with small birds.

Having your budgie examined by an Avian Vet allows you to develop a good relationship with the vet in case your bird needs care for an injury or illness in the future. Additionally, it is always helpful for the vet to have a baseline for your bird to refer to should it need future treatment.

When you give your budgies vegetables, put them in a separate dish from their seed/pellets.


It can take several weeks (or even months) for budgies to decide to try a new food.
Fruit is high in sugar content so vegetables are actually healthier for your budgies with fruits given only occasionally (once or twice a week)

Healthy Diet for your Budgies

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Old 07-26-2019, 03:10 PM
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Wow thanks for all the information!! I've tried leaving them a bath as well as wet leaves, but they don't seem to bathe in them so i sprayed them with a mist a couple times this week.

After taking a closer look I can see that the blue one is indeed a female, but isn't the green one's cere slightly blue? I thought that indicated that they were male. I can take more photos if they don't show the colour very well.

I also managed to take a video of the blue one's itching, she goes at it every minute or so for ~30 minutes every hour, mostly scratching the top of her head with her claws. (Sorry for the vertical video, they get very frightened at a horizontal phone) I understand that they have to preen, but this seems like way too much?

I planned to take them to a vet sometime in the following week, do you think this constant itching and preening warrants an earlier visit?

EDIT: I misted them again just now and she seems even itchier now than before

Last edited by vajamas; 07-26-2019 at 03:36 PM.
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Old 07-26-2019, 04:44 PM
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A female out of breeding condition may have a pale whitish blue cere, that is sometimes mistaken for a male, the male cere in most mutations, will be a much darker blue color. Take a look at the section of the Forum that is titled "Determining Gender" you may find that helpful. A visit to the vet sooner rather than later would be best if the constant itching does not stop, if there is a problem that needs medication then the sooner treatment is started, the better.
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Old 07-26-2019, 06:03 PM
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I rang up the vets in the city and they're all booked until Tuesday, with a pretty steep upfront cost of $72... I understand that these costs are definitely required but darn that'd be $150 for both of them to get checked. Nevertheless, I booked an appointment this Tuesday afternoon at a vet across the city.

I gave the situation some more thought and realized that the birds probably haven't gotten very much sleep these past two nights, as they were kept up late due to guests. They probably only got around 6-7 hours of sleep the past two nights. Could this contribute to the blue one's scratching and itching? I'm planning to give them a full nights rest of 12 hours tonight to hopefully give them some recovery time.

She seems to mostly be planting both feet on the highest perch, closing her eyes, and maybe getting some rest; however, I heard that budgies sleeping in the day with both feet down are a bad sign. She also seems to be slightly hunched over compared to her other half.

Taking your advice to read through sticky'd posts and some more forum posts online, I keep coming across "lethargy and loss of appetite" to be telltale signs. The lethargy could be explained by the lack of sleep, but his droppings have also shown a slight green tint.

Although at this point I might be trying to convince myself that things will be okay to save myself a couple hundred dollars and trip across the city... (CAD, so not as bad as it would be for those down south)

Last edited by vajamas; 07-26-2019 at 06:30 PM.
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Old 07-26-2019, 07:13 PM
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6-7 hours of rest is not enough, please see to it that they get 10-12 hours of rest in a quiet space, not in a room where other activities are going on. It is normal for birds to nap during the day I would not be too concerned about that unless she is napping all day. The droppings color can be effected by what is being eaten, can you post a picture of the ones that concern you? If you cannot afford to take both to the vet at least take the one you are concerned about and if the vet finds something wrong tell him/her that the bird has a cage mate and see if the recommendation is to treat both, if there are any type of mites then they will both need treatment anyway. Better to catch something sooner rather than later when you will end up spending even more money and also you do not want the bird suffering with something that could be easily treated.
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